:: Monday, January 19, 2004 ::

Poetic Justice

Former cadre of the International Marxist Group (British section of the United Secretariat of the Fourth International), George Kerevan is no pal of the Scottish Socialist Party. George has regressed politically to embrace neo-liberalism in all its glory. These days he cosies up to SNP leader John Swinney, attempting to give the Clark Kent of the Scottish Parliament some intellectual gravitas. George, along with some of the rest of the coterie of washed up spin doctors and special advisors had threatened to expose the crazy agenda of creating a healthier, happier more egalitarian society (apologies if I sound like Michael Howard there). Obviously any sane politician should be privatising education, getting McDonalds to fund our schools and destabilising the world in the name of US imperialism democracy.

But George seems to have forgotten all this to come up with some surprising praise for an SSP initiative. Writing in his Scotsman column he says:

"Last week, Mr Fox shocked me by coming up with a sensible proposal. Unfortunately, it was so sensible that it was not taken seriously by a lot of the media. So, in the spirit of recognising a good idea, no matter whence it comes, I think the Scottish Parliament should endorse Colin’s suggestion that Scotland appoint its own poet laureate as a tribute to the national bard, Robert Burns."

Well he was right about the idea not being taken seriously. See for example the unamusing Allan Brown in the Sunday Times "The Scottish Socialist party has called for Scotland to appoint its own poet laureate, mainly because rabble-rousing keeps them busy and there weren’t any derelict swimming pools that required saving this week."

George suggests that the post should be privately funded, specifically by a whisky company. A brilliant suggestion for a nation with an appalling problem of alcoholism and binge drinking.

And he is not much better on the subject of Burns "Burns was a dedicated supporter of the only modern political revolution that did not end in tears and gulags, namely the American democratic one. It was successful because, above all, it protected the freedom of the individual from the encroachment of the state." Didn't do the slaves much good though, did it Dod? And besides Burns was also keen on the French revolution. To quote just the first three lines of 'The Tree of Liberty' (1794)

Heard ye o' the tree o' France,
I watna what's the name o't;
Around the tree the patriots dance,
Weel Europe kens the fame o't.
It stands where ance the Bastile stood,
A prison built by kings, man,
When Superstition's hellish brood
Kept France in leading-strings, man.

Upo' this tree there grows sic fruit,
Its virtues a' can tell, man;
It raises man aboon the brute,
It maks him ken himsel, man.
Gif ance the peasant taste a bit,
He's greater than a lord, man,
And wi' the beggar shares a mite
0' a' he can afford, man

This fruit is worth a' Afric's wealth,
To comfort us 'twas sent, man:
To gie the sweetest blush o' health,
And mak us a' content, man
It clears the een, it cheers the heart,
Maks high and low gude friends, man;
And he wha acts the traitor's part,
It to perdition sends, man.

George concludes "That means our poet laureate must be a master of words, not a hack; someone who can talk convincingly about love and sex as well as about politics. A bit like Robert Burns, really." Well on that we are agreed.

I say Keith Mackie (author of Doctor Who in the Style of Irvine Welsh) for poet laureate of Scotland and Mark E Smith for the equivalent post in England ("Ah Queen Mother Ah! Dead Ah! Prussian monarchy Corgi Atrocity Ah!")

:: Alister | 12:04 pm | save this page to del.icio.us Save This Page | permalink⊕ | |


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